The Baltimore Ravens will start the 2022 NFL season on the road against the New York Jets and an all-too-familiar face at quarterback. Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco will face his old team for the first time since being traded in 2019. Baltimore enters the game as 6.5-point favorites, but there are plenty of matchups that could give the Ravens trouble against the Jets. Conversely, Baltimore also has a few favorable matchups they will be looking to exploit in Sunday’s Week 1 contest.
Ravens’ cornerbacks vs Jets’ wide receivers
Flacco will have plenty of options in the passing attack while he mans the position for the injured Zach Wilson. The Jets drafted wide receiver Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State with the No. 10 overall pick in the draft to join an already talented receiving corps. Elijah Moore is the expected top target of the group heading into his second season on the heels of a very promising rookie campaign that was shortened by injuries. Corey Davis is coming off a disappointing first season in New York after signing with the team in free agency but is a capable weapon through the air. Braxton Berrios is a solid slot option as well coming off his best season.
The Ravens will have several players returning from injury at the cornerback position, including two former All-Pros in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Whether or not Peters plays on Sunday is still unknown, however. Regardless, Baltimore’s cornerbacks will have their hands full with such a strong corps of pass catchers and a strong-armed veteran slinging the ball. Veteran Kyle Fuller could see a heavy workload in his first game as a Raven while rookies Damarion “Pepe” Williams and Jayln Armour-Davis could be called upon as well.
With Moore expected to be the best of the group and considering his versatility to play both on the outside and in the slot, Baltimore could decide to shadow him with Humphrey. Humphrey has proven his ability to move into the slot if need be.
Ravens’ outside linebackers vs Jets’ offensive tackles
The Ravens currently only have two outside linebackers on the active roster with Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston. Between Steven Means, Kyler Fackrell, and Jeremiah Moon, Baltimore will surely call up a few players from the practice squad to play on Sunday. High expectations surround Oweh after a strong rookie season for the first-round pick out of Penn State. With the currently battered state of the offensive tackle position for the Jets, Oweh has a golden opportunity to start his sophomore season off with a bang.
After losing starting left tackle Mekhi Becton to a season-ending injury in August, New York signed veteran Duane Brown to anchor the spot in his stead. Earlier this week, it was announced that Brown would miss Week 1 with a shoulder injury. George Fant is expected to shift to left tackle now with rookie fourth-rounder Max Mitchell taking his place at right tackle. Against a pure pocket passer such as the now 37-year-old Flacco, the Ravens are in prime position to unleash their edge rushers to wreak havoc.
Mark Andrews vs Jets’ safeties and linebackers
One player stood above the rest in a season decimated by injuries for Baltimore in 2021, and that was All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. Andrews cemented his place as one of the league’s deadliest pass catchers last season and will once again be the focal point of the passing attack and quarterback Lamar Jackson’s favorite target. Despite knowing where the ball is going on a larger portion of passing plays, defenses were unable to slow Andrews last season, and with wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown now out of the equation for the Ravens, the ball could be headed the tight end’s way even more.
The Jets have another familiar face at inside linebacker in C.J. Mosley. Mosley spent his first five seasons in Baltimore before leaving to sign with New York in 2019. The Jets would be unwise to task Mosley with covering Andrews on Sunday, but there will surely be plays where it happens. Linebackers Kwon Alexander and Quincy Williams could also end up on Andrews. The Jets will likely use a safety in man coverage situations for the most part. After losing Marcus Maye in free agency, New York signed strong safety Jordan Whitehead to pair with free safety Lamarcus Joyner. Expect Whitehead to go against Andrews a fair amount this week.
Ravens’ offensive line vs Jets’ defensive line
The Ravens went to work overhauling their offensive line this offseason by signing veteran right tackle Morgan Moses and drafting center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley finally returned to practice last week but is unlikely to suit up on Sunday, meaning Ja’Wuan James will start in his place. With Ben Powers expected to start at left guard, the left side of the offensive line could have their hands full with a good defensive front.
Defensive end Carl Lawson, one of the Jets’ big free agent signings a year ago, will be returning from a season-ending injury that kept him from playing in 2021. On the opposite side will be John Franklin-Myers. First-round rookie Jermaine Johnson should also see the field as part of the rotation. In the middle, former No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams has developed into one of the league’s best defensive tackles. Williams in particular could give Baltimore’s interior a tough time, both against the run and on passing downs. How well Linderbaum, Powers, and James can hold up against this vaunted line will be pivotal to the Ravens’ offensive success.